by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 5:00)
Simple Song began its life as a 12-bar piano exercise which I wrote for one of my music theory classes at Montclair State University, where I have taught for well over two decades now. The melody – all in the right hand – is an uncomplicated one in 4/4, and is harmonized by a series of extended chords (7th, 6th, 9th, etc.). After working on it in the piano lab with my university students one day I thought that this music might work very well as a lyric piece for band. So, I orchestrated the original material and then expanded the work to include the several sections which it currently has. I very rarely compose first on the piano and then orchestrate; I almost always have the full blank score in front of me and then I think immediately in terms of the ensemble I’m writing for. But this piece is an exception, and a sort of reunion for me with the practice of composing at the piano.